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Simon Francis

Tell us about yourself and your relationship with Bernadette Francis? 

My name is Simon Francis. I was born to Bernadette and Roman Francis, in Delices, Dominica on June 15, 1942. I am the fourth son, and seventh of eight children. I grew up in Dominica and eagerly awaited the day I would go off to the city, and set upon my journey of higher education, like my brothers before me. My mother, Bernadette, instilled in all her children the belief that with God all things are possible – you need to apply yourself. When an educational opportunity arose in 1968, I embraced it, migrated to the United States of America, and expanded my horizon in higher education, which allowed me to enjoy a successful career. 

What are your memories of your mother Bernadette Francis? 

My life is full of loving and glorious memories of my mother. Above all my mother, Bernadette, was a prayerful woman who loved God. She loved her family, neighbors, and humanity in general. She began and ended every day with prayer. She raised us to be obedient and respectful to others, especially to the elderly. She instilled in her children the need to be truthful, honest, and kind. She always helped the less fortunate in her community in any way she could. 

How did she impact your life as a child growing up? 

Despite her little means, she did not waver in her determination that her children should be educated and worked tirelessly to ensure they were fed, clothed, punctual at school, and did their assignments, in addition to their chores. I did not want to ever disappoint her, so I obeyed and persevered. 

How important was education to her? 

I truly believe that Education took second place only to Love of God. She believed being educated would open the world of opportunities to anyone. As a widower with limited means that was critical to the success of her family. Her charming personality along with the success of my older siblings, drew some of the most educated people to visit our family. Those included the school principal, the clergy, the chief of police, and the district nurse. She believed in education. She did not receive a secondary education; and it is my opinion that those circumstances propelled her to ensure that her children would not suffer the same fate, but would be able, by the grace of God, to achieve their potential through education. As a result, three of the four boys and two of her four girls attended colleges and universities. The girls became educators and all her children had successful careers. Our neighbors would tell their children to look up to Bernadette’s children as model students. 

Tell us about your education journey. 

I attended Delices Government School and before I finished my primary education, I entered St. Mary’s Academy. In the fifth form, (equivalent to 11th grade) I passed the Cambridge University School Certificate. I later attended Howard University, Washington, DC where I earned a B.A. and M.A. in Economics. I pursued post-graduate studies at American University in Washington, DC. I was an Assistant Professor at Northern Virginia Community College and an Adjunct Professor in Montgomery College, Maryland while working as a Senior International Health Care Specialist in the Federal Government, in the U.S. Department of Commerce. I served as an Educational Services Specialist, Export Trading Company Affairs Specialist, and Trade Mission Director Advisor to Government Officials and Private Sector Executives, among other roles. Had work published in the Healthcare field. 

I took sabbatical leave and went to Harvard University and obtained an MC/MPA degree. After retiring from the Federal Government - US Dept of Commerce, I became an Adjunct Professor at Prince George’s Community College to share my knowledge with young and ambitious students. 

What is your philosophy on education? 

It is an unending journey that molds your thoughts throughout your life making you a better person, willing and able to offer a helping hand to someone else in need of assistance to get over a difficult bump in the road of life, on the path to realizing his or her full potential. 

Why should someone support Bernadette Francis’ Foundation? 

Why not? What separates this foundation from many others is the enormous impact felt by the recipient of its’ awards. This is a foundation whose aim is to assist needy individuals with financial resources to address an immediate need, that may otherwise have railroaded their efforts to attain the education necessary to be successful and to advance in their desired career and be able to help others. Your financial support could provide the means for many to succeed and change their socioeconomic status in society. This multiplier effect will leverage the continued development of communities in the Caribbean and eventually throughout the World.


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